Friday, 4 November 2011

La Mama Review

La mama


Last week was my Mum's birthday. This called for celebration! So off we went in search of something tasty.

As we walked down London road, I spotted La mama. I'd never been in here before, but at the eat Sheffield awards on Monday night they won 'favourite European' restaurant so I reckoned they'd be good enough for my Ma.

So in we went, me, my mum and my little sister. A friendly lady greeted us and showed us to a table by the window. I was rather surprised to see we were the only ones in, but it was around 2pm and I guess there is a chance we'd missed the lunchtime rush.


We ordered 6 tapas from their special 'happy hour' menu. The décor is what you'd expect from a tapas place: yellow walls, tiny guitars, maracas and their eat Sheffield award hung proudly amongst various other European inspired decorations.
Soon enough out came the food.

The tapas were well presented and each one had great flavour and you could tell they were home made.

The patatas bravas were crunchy with a fluffy centre and coated in a spicy tomato sauce.


The tortilla was nice and chunky. The rice was well flavoured and enjoyed very much by my sister. I enjoyed the pumpkin fritters and their accompanying green chilli and coriander salsa very much, although not as much as I enjoyed the baked aubergine and goats cheese, a nice twist on the traditional Italian melanzana parmigiana.


The mushrooms were as they read on the menu: garlicky and white wine-ey but at (cost) for 7, I felt they were a little pricey.

Tapas are all about small portions though, I suppose.



We mopped up all the juices with some house bread which was average and had been drizzled with some very very good olive oil.

Next came the desserts which I was looking forward to. We decided to share chilli chocolate cake and a banoffee pie. The banoffee looked delicious but I only got to taste a tiny bit of the sauce as it was way too creamy for me, being lactose intolerant.

My mum and sister savoured it, each mouthful accompanied by a different moan of pleasure and facial expression to match.

I had some of the chocolate cake. It was nice but I was expecting a dark, glossy sauce and dense chocolatey sponge. This however was light and with a weak sauce.


Don't get me wrong, it was nice but I am one hell of a tough critic when it comes to cakes and this didn't really fit the bill for me.

The important thing was my mum enjoyed herself and the food was overall very good.

The bill came to £34.65.

I'll probably be back as they have live music nights and I'm pleased to have found a quality tapas restaurant so close to home!


Food – 7/10

Service – 9.5/10

Value – 7/10

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I'm throwing a cake party for charity!

And you're all invited!
.....Although there are limited spaces available so maybe not all of you..my advice is to let me know if you want to come sooner, rather than later!

This will be a great opportunity for people to get together, show off their cake making skills, enjoy other peoples delicious cakes, share recipes, drink tea AND raise money for breast cancer

Click here for the event details on facebook or leave a comment if you don't have facebook, but want to come along.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Blackberry, pear and stem ginger crumble with an oaty topping recipe!

I do love a good crumble and the other day, whilst cycling past an overflowing blackberry bush, inspiration struck.
So after getting thoroughly spiked and stung (note to self - shorts are not good fruit picking apparel) I came home with some tasty treats.

I've added pear to bulk it out and stem ginger because its awesome.
Ooh and due to my recent lactose intolerance diagnosis, its also vegan!

Ingredients:

Blackberries about 200g
Pears x2
Stem ginger x3 little chunks
Brown sugar, to taste

2 tbsp oats
200g plain flour
100g margerine
50g brown sugar

Method:
Simmer top 4 ingredients in a pan with a little of the syrup from the ginger. Do this til the pears have softened slightly 10 minutes ish depending on fruit.

Meanwhile combine the other ingredients in a bowl and crumble them between your fingers til you have what looks like breadcrumbs.

Pour the fruit into a ovenproof dish and add the crumble on top. Bake til golden!

Enjoy.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Café # 9

Today is the first day of two and a half weeks off work. As I'm not going away during this time I decided to visit the only place in Sheffield I can think of where you can go inside and feel like you're a million miles away - Café # 9.

I do prefer to stay in the more suburban areas when I'm in the mood for reading and procrastinating whilst enjoying my food. I'm not sure why.. maybe its because a lot of city centre places are usually full of people nipping out of work for a quick coffee or lunch and as such, you generally tend to feel rather rushed and not able to fully relax, never-mind read a book!

I ordered my food then proceeded to walk slowly around the place, taking in the surroundings. There are so many fascinating things to look at, from the vast range of foreign currency stuck to the walls to various paintings, including a man with a turban and one of the café itself, being visited by Darth Vader...the latter may give you an insight into the minds of some of the regular clientèle here.

According to a faded newspaper clipping, this was a favourtie hang out for the late John Peel. I'm not surprised as the music playing is kind of a mix between Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom but even more bizzare.



My brunch arrives - a simple beans on toast washed down with a cup of tea.
Wait! Don't go just yet, I can assure you I'm didn't write this post to review their beans on toast.
I'm merely revisiting an old favourite hangout that happens to sell food. The menu isn't huge: a few cakes, toasted sandwiches and bagels. They also do amazing milkshakes - a must for a hot summers day if you're in the area.

I could take endless photos of the decor but half the fun is coming down and discovering it for yourself.
Café # 9 is full of eclectic charm and I'm sure I'll visit many more times in the future!


Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Yuen Shan...again

I first visited Yuen Shan last year. That review can be read here.

Firstly I'll apologise for the lack of photos, I wasn't planning on writing about this place but I just had to share my experience with you.

So I'll begin.
After having peanut butter and honey on toast for lunch today and yesterdays equally healthy lunch of cheese on toast followed by half a piece of cake and a cup of tea for dinner I felt my body was crying out for some nutrition in the form of vegetables.
Bit of an odd move then, you might think, for me to then visit a Chinese restaurant but I had my heart set on braised silky aubergines and some tasty greens.

I went inside after a quick glance at the window menu. I loved it last year so presumed it couldn't have got worse.

A young waitress eating dinner noticed me and,  shocked, quickly swallowed whatever it was she was eating and then rushed over to greet me. She showed me to my table. There were two other people there, pretty quiet for half six. I perused the menu.
I noticed the Mongolian lamb and remembered how delicious it was. I didn't order that though as I stopped eating meat 8 months ago.

Just in case anyone is wondering, I have been a vegetarian for most of my life. I started eating meat when I enrolled in my professional chefs course as it wouldn't really have been possible for me to learn how to cook certain dishes, by which I mean those including meat, without tasting the food. I went back to a meat free diet but I still eat fish (pescetarian / vegaquarian..call it what you wish).

Back to the review - I chose braised aubergine, sautéed tofu with seafood and boiled rice. I ordered Chinese tea to drink.
The food arrived and looked well presented: glossy pieces of aubergine in a rich dark gravy and...hold on a minute..lumps of minced meat.
I've never ever sent food back as I find it awkward and know how annoying it can be from the chefs point of view. I even contemplated picking around the meat before deciding against it.

I called the waiter over and pointed out the meat, asking the obvious - "is this meat?"
He told me that it was and when I stated that it said vegetarian on the menu he was sceptical and even brought over the menu so I then had to point out the big bold words "vegetarian" above the list of dishes, one of which being the one I had chosen.

He quickly apologized and went back to the kitchen with the aubergine. My tofu dish arrived and I couldn't help but wonder who ate my food and then threw it back up onto my plate. Harsh, I know but this had to taste better than it looked...surely!!
Tough contest, I declared it a tie. The tofu had the consistency of no other tofu I've had before - similar to a wet squidgy marshmallow. There were chunks of carrots that had blatently gone off, overcooked squid and something not unlike a crab-stick. The whole thing was covered in a slippery, gooey, raw egg like sauce.

I'm not exaggerating at all. I have a strong stomach but this was way too much even for me. I couldn't physically eat any more.

The aubergine arrived with no rich dark sauce but it was instead accompanied by a pool of soy sauce and oil. I struggled to eat a couple of pieces. I had this dish many times in china, a few of those in seriously dodgy places but the grease slowly coated my entire mouth and lips and this combined with the traumatic tofu dish was too much for my stomach and I had to stop there.
I'd eaten six mouthfuls but already I felt heavy. I went to the counter, reluctantly paid my £13.70 bill and left the restaurant as quickly as I could.

The waiter even had the cheek to follow me outside and tell me I hadn't paid him enough before realising his mistake - again.

I buy a bounty from across the road, partly to remove the lingering nasty taste and partly for the nourishment the meal failed to provide. After all it has coconut and that's good for you, right?


I cycled past Pho 68 and look in the window. It's almost full and I couldn't help envying the happy looking diners.

On the positive side, they say you learn something new every day.  Today I learnt that just because there is a vegetarian section on a menu in a Chinese restaurant, this doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't contain lumps of meat. Oh and I also learnt never to eat there again.

Thanks for reading.

Food 1/10
Service 2/10
Value 2/10

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dhanistas

After receiving lots of positive recommendations for Dhanista's, I decided it was about time for me to try this new(ish) Sri Lankan restaurant for myself. I also happened to stumble across a voucher online for £30 worth of food for two, for only £10! Very lucky indeed.

After some gentle coaxing to get my boyfriend to go, and avoiding the temptation from the aromas wafting out of the profusion of other restaurants on London Road, I arrived.

On entering I was rather surprised to see how bright it was: it was nearly 7pm and yet it looked like lunch time. Some curtains and candles might be a good idea so as to create a better evening atmosphere.

The staff were very welcoming and friendly. I could smell the aroma of various spices and garlic floating through the kitchen into the restaurant. Looking at the menu I remember feeling a rare excitement, mostly arising from the fact that there were so many dishes that I had never heard of, let alone tasted, before.

We chose masala squid and a mushroom dish to start, followed by aubergine curry, butter chicken, egg kotthu and pilau rice.


Our food arrived shortly after, and I dug past the unwanted raw onions to some very tender and tasty squid. I've never had squid 'Indian-style' before, but this definitely won't be the last time! However, I do feel it could have benefited from a dipping sauce of some sort.

The mushrooms were gorgeously rich and had been coated in  batter, fried  and served with a spicy tomato sauce.


I had been slightly worried, when ordering, about the portions being too big and daunting, but I needn't have worried as they were spot on. The mains arrived and, with them, mouth-watering smells.

Two whole baby aubergines and a rich coconut and lime leaf sauce made up my brinjal curry. It tasted as good as it smelt. The occasional surprise crunch of a whole fennel, cumin or coriander seed filled my whole mouth with the perfumes. An explosion of taste. The texture of the aubergine was spot on: charred on the outside with a silky interior.

The pilau was perfectly cooked and fluffy with various  colours and spices. The egg kotthu (basically a chopped up paratha mixed with chopped egg and spring onions) is pure comfort food. It brings back childhood memories of my mums last-minute meals of fried egg on paratha - delicious!

The whole thing comes to just over £30 and unfortunately they don't accept my discount code as I'd not printed off the voucher and attempted to show them the e-mail on my phone. Oops, silly me. But, I suppose that this gives me another excuse to come down again another time!

I'm happy Sheffield has a new Sri Lankan restaurant to join East and West. I find that most other Indian restaurants simply do not compare, with their oil-laden dishes that taste exactly the same as one another. Give me more fresh and simple flavours from South India any day.

My trip to Dhanistas has sparked in me fresh anticipation for my holiday to India, thats for sure!



Food 9/10
Service 8/10
Value 9/10

Monday, 25 April 2011

Revolution De Cuba!

It was Easter Sunday and very, very warm.
I decided to take my friend Robinn to Revolution de Cuba - one of my favourite bars in town.

Once inside the spacious and light interior, with its low ceiling fans we knew we had made the right decision.



One of the things I love about this place is the fact that once inside, you feel a million miles away from Sheffield...don't get me wrong I love Sheffield! Sometimes you just need to take a break though. this place with its funky artwork and live Cuban band makes a refreshing change from other drinking establishments in Sheffield.





I start off with my favourite cocktail - a strawberry daiquiri. This is dangerously good. Imagine a slush puppy, but made with fresh strawberries, ice and lots of rum! Perfect on a hot day like this.




The menu has various salads, burritos, tapas etc and we decide to go for their "3 small plates for £12" deal.
I order some nachos with three bean chilli and Robinn goes for chorizo and patatas bravas. We also get some mojito battered prawns to share.




The food arrives quickly and it looks well presented. I taste a prawn first and am pleasantly surprised to find it has been de-veined. The batter is crisp and has a hint of rosemary which oddly enough, works.
Even the accompanying salad garnish is well thought out, with fresh coriander and edamame beans.




The patatas bravas is perfectly seasoned and fluffy inside.
The nachos are bigger than i was expecting and are accompanied by guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
I love the chilli and there is just the right amount of topping. Not too much so that you pick up one chip and all the others are  attached by a huge lump of solidified melted cheese. Just enough.
My only complaint here would be that the salsa is too sweet.

The waitress is very friendly and attentive and after ordering a mojito that was too bitter, she took it away and got us another freshly made and much tastier one.

I'll definitely be back for more delicious food and cocktails!

Food 8/10
Service 9/10
Value 9/10

Friday, 25 March 2011

Made by Jonty Review

Yesterdays weather was truly stunning!
I celebrated my day off with a trip to hunters bar.

First stop was a haircut and manicure up on Greystones road,
the second stop was the Greedy Greek where I popped in for some delicious Strofilia and the third stop was Made by Jonty.

There's a nice chilled out atmosphere to the place and the two girls who served me were bubbly and friendly. I like the exposed brick walls and tasty looking cakes on display.
There is a large blackboard menu and an "all day breakfast" paper menu which includes the usual breakfast items as well as some very tasty sounding Eggs Benedict and Florentines.
However I am not really in a breakfast mood so go for the cauliflower cheese burger off the board and a hot chocolate to drink.
I sit upstairs and look out of the window at the nearby school with all the happy children finishing their day...yes it was a very late lunch!

Soon enough my hot chocolate arrives and is hot, milky and chocolaty. Just what you'd expect from a good hot chocolate!


Not long after the waitress brings up my burger. "Tell me what you think because I might have it for my lunch on Saturday!", she tells me.

The bread is nice but slightly disappointing as it didn't seem to be home made. The burger itself is great but could benefit from more cheese. Yet it makes a nice alternative to your traditional burger.




The accompanying sweetcorn relish is sweet and tangy with a bit of heat from the whole mustard seeds. The flavours work together with the rich cauliflower cheese well.

I'm stuffed so don't go for a dessert today but will be back if I'm ever in the area for more summer food or if I fancy a tasty  breakfast.


The whole bill came to just over £9.

Food 7/10
Service 9/10
Value 7/10


...Oh and my fourth and final stop was at Nonnas Cucina where I purchased a slice of coffee and white chocolate tart for later. It was gorgeously decadent!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Spring Vegetable And Goats Cheese Filo Parcels With A Caramelized Apple Compote Recipe

I tried a similar version of this last week whilst I was in Morocco, at the Earth Cafe.

The apple and goats cheese work very nicely together and when I made this at work it sold out pretty fast! Enjoy!

This is a rough-ish  recipe as however many parcels it will make will depend on the sheets of filo you get in your pack / don't rip etc.

I used roasted butternut squash, courgettes, red onion, red pepper and blanched kale as my vegetables but you could use pretty much any!

Ingredients:
Pack Filo Pastry
Vegetables (see above)
Goats Cheese
Apples
Oil (for brushing)

Method:
Pretty straightforward really!
Preheat gas to 200 degrees C.



       Compote
  • Peel and small rough chop the apples removing all the pips.
  • Cook on the stove in a pan with a little water and sugar.
  • It will stick slightly, let it do so as this adds colour and flavour!

       Parcels
  • Roast your veggies or steam them, pan fry them, boil them it really is up to you, this is a very versatile recipe. Make sure to leave them with a bit of crunch.
  • Gently seperate your filo. Each parcel needs 2 sheets. lay these on top of each other. (Tip - with filo, a slightly damp tea towel, laid over the remaining filo, whilst you begin working on a parcel, helps it to not dry out!)
  • Layer your vegetables and finish off with a gooey slice of goats cheese.
  • Brush the sides with oil and fold them over like you are wrapping a present - bringing them over together neatly on top.
  • Garnish with remaining pepper and bake for 10-15 minutes
  • Serve with the apple compote! 
Sorry I have no finished picture of the parcels but they did sell out before I had the chance to photograph any!



Thursday, 10 March 2011

Braised aubergines szechuan stylee recipe.

Hello everyone. I have just returned from Morocco and remembered this dish I cooked which I meant to put up before I left. The recipe is from Gordon Ramseys "Healthy Appetite" book.


I seldom follow recipes step by step, instead I usually glance over the recipe, using it as a guideline so to speak.
This time as it was a dish I ate a lot of in China and never having cooked anything like it before I followed the instructions carefully.
The result was silky, almost meaty like aubergines and very similar to what I was looking for.
I also added some Chinese five spice and instead of toasted sesame seeds I sprinkled on furikake.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wasabisabi's 7th Birthday Party!


Last night I attended Wasabisabi's 7
th birthday party, and what a great night it was!



I saw many familiar faces, and lots of new ones including Claire from the blog “Love to live to eat”.
It's always nice to meet fellow bloggers.

The place quickly filled up and I handed in my token for a free glass of wine which they filled nearly to the brim of a huge glass!

The décor of Wasabisabi is very typical of a sushi restaurant. It has a small water-lilly stream and waterfall in the corner, and nets with an abundance of paper fish dangling above our heads. This is topped off with a huge wooden boat, of which they also have smaller replicas on which they serve the sushi.
The dining area in Wasabisabi consists of a seating area down a couple of steps and a teppanyaki area up another few steps.


After another glass of wine I realised I needed to eat something soon as it was going straight to my head! Talk about cheap date!




I didn't have to worry about not getting enough food at all as the treats kept on coming and the next was huge tempura prawns that were spot on perfection.

I wandered up to the teppanyaki area and was told they would be starting in 10 minutes so I found a great spot and watched as the chefs did there stuff. They were very impressive with their juggling and knife skills. The prawns were the nicest prawns I have ever eaten in my life! I want to know what was in those metal canisters he was juggling about so much.




Next they cooked chicken and beef, and to be honest I was full - so I moved on to chat with some more people before leaving. I was shown a few tricks by my magician friend Ben who was there as well.

All in all it was a fantastic party! There was a really nice mix of people there which created a great atmosphere. Happy birthday Wasabisabi!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Za'atar Crusted Halloumi and Charred Veggies Mezze Recipe

Today's beautiful warm weather has had me dreaming of BBQ food with its lovely charred and smokey flavour, best enjoyed in the sun.
So with this inspiration I decided to treat myself to a lovely mezze style lunch of charred vegetables, za'atar crusted halloumi and fresh bread from the 24 hour continental supermarket.


This is an easy recipe for you to try this at home for beautiful weather like this when you can't be bothered to get your BBQ out but fancy some delicious summer food.

Serves 1 greedy person or 2 as a light lunch with salad.

Chop some baby aubergine, okra and cherry toms and shallow fry them in a hot pan with a dollop of sweet chilli to get the caramalization going.



Dust cubes of halloumi in za'atar and add that to the pan.
Remove everything when it is slightly charred and serve!
I served with the bread and also some olives and sun blushed tomatoes I had in my fridge.



Yum!! Delicious

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Cake 'R' Us Chinese Bakery

My favourite cake shop!

I love this place. It makes me feel happy and excited from the moment I step through the door! This is partly due to all the colourful cakes and decorations. I also love admiring all the interesting flavour combinations such as pineapple and red bean, roast pork or salted egg puff.

I have tried the roast pork bun before, and it was an interesting mix of sweet and salty which I can't say I'm too keen on myself, but hey they have plenty of other cakes for me to choose from, so that’s why its still number one!

I love the tiramisu, black forest, chocolate truffle, egg tart and fried dough stick.
They are also incredibly light and fluffy too.

I'm off to a cheese fondue party tonight and bought some cakes specially for the occasion.
I got two tiramisus, a black forest slice and a mango cake...yum yum!


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Sushi Express Restaurant Review

I was flicking through the Sheffield magazine 'Toast' and at the back was a voucher for two free salmon nigiri at the new Japanese restaurant - Sushi Express.
I love sushi, and free stuff, so now all I had to do was find this place and claim my free food!
This was harder than I expected and the little map on the coupon wasn't much help but after nearly 30 minutes of searching I finally found it just down the round from DQ.

The first thing I saw when I entered was shelves containing strange Japanese snacks such as squid flavoured peanuts and various pocky.
Staff wearing too-big shirts covered in seashells greet me, and take me past the colourful snacks into the dining area.



I was pleased to see full colour photos of each dish on the menu - A bad sign in western style restaurants but good in places such as this.
I chose my favourite - Unagi Maki, some miso soup, tofu skin and my free roast salmon nigiri.


The miso soup wasn't hot which is a shame as it was pretty chilly outside but the hot green tea was, thankfully.
The sushi arrived shortly after and was well presented.
The salmon was still very rare, lightly roasted and very delicate. It was drizzled with a sweet yellow sauce.
The Unagi (eel) was great! Fresh with crunchy strips of cucumber.


I was surprised by the tofu skin. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was a sort of tofu skin pocket with rice inside. The skin itself was quite sweet and dough-nutty.
I ate the rice separately, dipping it in the wasabi.
Only suddenly I realize I was a bit over enthusiastic with the wasabi and I felt the burn all the way up into my brain it was very intense!

I finished my last salmon nigiri by dropping the rice from under it. Still clutching the salmon with my chopsticks I watched as the rice bounced off my table and onto the floor.
I turned around and the waitress was looking at me with the sort of polite smile that said "relax I have seen this many times before". I was rather embarrassed none the less.

I then ordered a Dragon roll. I was unsure about it but it did have a chef recommends star next to it so I decided to try something new.
Turns out to be a prawn maki with added tiny fish roe and a juicy tempura prawn that's shaped so it looks like a dragon - Very cute!
The prawns were slightly warm, whether that is a good thing or not I do not know.



The bill comes to £13. I like this place and I'll definitely go back when I'm in the mood for a sushi lunch.

Food - 7/10
Value - 7/10
Service - 10/10

I will be doing marks out of 10 for places now! If I remember that is..

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

African Style Groundnut Curry Recipe


So I haven't done a recipe post in a while and I cooked a nice meal for me and my friend and thought hey I should totally write this one up!

Its a very versatile and unusual curry and you can pretty much chuck whatever vegetables, beans, meat or whatever you want in there!
I used sweet potato, halloumi and butter beans.

I have to admit to a product that I use which is very lazy but amazing...
Frozen ginger and garlic!
It comes in little cubes and you can buy it from most asian / general foreign grocery shops, where you can find it in the frozen food section. I love them!

PS. Sorry for the awful photo it really did taste better than it looked!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 pack halloumi
  • 1/2 tin butter beans
  • 1 red onion
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tin coconut milk


Method:

  1. Slice the onion and add to a pan to soften in a little oil.
  2. Chop the ginger and garlic fine and add to the pan.
  3. Peel and thinly cube your sweet potato and add this to the pan.
  4. Fry these for five minutes - add a splash of water if it starts to stick.
  5. Add your coconut milk, beans and curry powder.
  6. Cube your halloumi and fry in a hot pan til golden then add that.
  7. Cook until the potato is tender, stir through the peanut butter and serve with plain rice!
This is also lovely with a squeeze of lime, coriander or a dollop of chilli sauce or all three combined!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Cocoa and Teabox

I'm a huge fan of chocolate so you can imagine my delight when my good friend Rosie asked if I'd like to come with her to interview the lovely ladies at cocoa! Plus I was in need of some good chocolate and cocoa is definitely my favourite chocolate shop in Sheffield. Some of you will remember me blogging about it a while back.

Rosie also mentioned another company - Teabox who make, you guessed it...tea! Tea is another of my favourite things so this day was turning out to be quite a treat and I was eagerly anticipating meeting the people behind both businesses.

Unfortunately for me on Sunday morning I had a bit of a hangover but that didn't stop us from walking (in the rain, I might add) the half hour walk up to hunters bar to meet the family behind Teabox.

We arrived at the house and Kirsty greeted us and invited us into her lovely home. We went through to the kitchen and I noticed her shelves were stacked with foil fresh pouches of tea. On the table were some blueberry muffins which she had baked herself.

She offered us some tea and, after discovering I had a hangover, recommended her 'Tummy Rub' blend of various things including liquorice, chamomile and fennel. After mixing it and letting it steep for the required time she poured us a cup and also one of the fresh muffins!

We asked various questions and all agreed there should be more places that supply good, proper tea. The tea looks incredible, most of them including tiny flowers and the Earl Grey spiked with bright blue petals.

She even gave us a couple of pouches of tea for us to take home with us! I have to say I will be ordering more of the 'Tummy Rub' definitely as it soothed my hangover and perked me up ready for out next visit which was just down the road!


Even the outside of cocoa is enticing and that's before you enter to smell the gorgeous sweet chocolate inside! We greet Kate and Anne and they kindly offer us some more tea and show us to their wonderful little tea room at the back of the shop. We sit down and they then offer us some chocolate...me and Rosie exchange glances with a huge grin on our faces and say "yes please!"

We are then presented with six praline chocolates and six fruity chocolates! These are seriously good.

They tell us about way back when they first bought the shop and also their trip to Granada to a see chocolate being made. Their stories were helped with the addition of photo albums and it was all very fascinating to hear.

After a relaxing hour or so I buy a few things - A couple of chocolate bars and a cute tea strainer for my new tea and then we head on our way back home.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Orchid Thai Restaurant Review

Browsing the Internet a month ago, I came across an offer on groupon that I couldn't resist - "A Christmas journey" for two people at the orchid Thai restaurant. My mouth watered as I read the menu and after seeing that it was just £21.50 instead of the original £53.60, I bought my voucher straight away.

Last night, me and a friend braved the horrible, slushy snow and rain in search of this place.
We eventually found it, I was pleased once I realized its whereabouts as I had walked past many times, and always wanted to visit.

We step inside to see elegant, expensive decor, which surrounds a huge fish tank, which houses several large fish.
The waiter shows us to our table and hands us the Christmas journey menu. We are about to tell him what we would like when he informs us that we will be getting everything on the menu!
This makes our choice a little easier.


We help ourselves to the prawn and crab crackers. I say we, but I have only a small nibble of a crab cracker, as I'm not keen on them.


Our starters arrive almost immediately, but not before we giggle at the descriptions of the food - the "Penang Nuea" being particularly hilarious.

The food looks stunning. Well presented and with the addition of some beautifully sliced carrot in the shape of a butterfly and a flower - Very impressive.
I enjoy every piece of the starter especially the ribs with meat that fell effortlessly off the bone.


Our empty plates are taken and no more than five minutes later our mains start to arrive.
The "tradition beef slice" is served in a little pot over a candle and is thin, silky, melt in the mouth beef with a lovely peanut flavour and crunchy green beans.


The rice is fine as are the accomp
anying vegetables.


Salmon and aubergine is a combination I've never seen before but it works and is tasty.


The chicken has a moreish crunchy coating and a delicate sauce which is unlike the typical Chinese chicken and cashew nut I have tried and has a lighter, more delicate flavour.


My curiosities about the traditional Thai dessert are certainly not answered when it arrives. I fish about in the bowl with my spoon and find slices of banana, which I realise after placing in my mouth that they are very hot!


The sauce us light,sweet and coco-nutty and the toasted sesame seeds give a lovely crunchy texture and depth of flavour to the whole thing.

Overall I'm pretty happy - not only did I get a bargain but I got to sample great food that's a bit different from the standard Chinese meal out, and in lovely sophisticated surroundings!